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Fall Sports Preview column: Glad that live sports are back in high schools

Brian Johnson - Sports Editor
Sports seasons.

    What has seemed like being in the twilight zone for the last 5-6 months or so, live sports is back.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to heartbreak, especially for the recently graduated high school seniors, who missed out on basketball championships and a bulk of the spring sports schedules. In addition, many of them saw their graduation ceremonies delayed, held virtually or not even conducted at all.

    The start of high school softball and volleyball was launched earlier this week and preseason football drills began on Monday – a sign of promise.

    How much will be held is still an unknown. Schedules are in place, but one thing we have learned the last several months is that we will need to be flexible and fluid.

    With many schools starting up this past week and next week, some of that scheduling may be tested. Taking safety and health precautions are certainly important. Working together as students, teachers and communities as a whole will be critical in the coming days, weeks and months.

    I missed watching many sports for what has seemed like several years. Coming up with story ideas has obviously been a challenge as well.

    But one thing I know is that I haven't missed as much as the student-athletes themselves. Talking to numerous high school and college students the past several months, there has been a common theme – extreme disappointment. Many of these high school students not only play hard for their schools, but are looking to play at the next level in college. Some lost out on part of their seasons. Others lost out on the opportunity to complete seasons and some may be missing out on possible athletic scholarships.

    Speaking of colleges, athletics is still a major question mark with the postponement of fall sports in many NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA conferences throughout the country. Many of these leagues are hoping to ride out the pandemic for several months in hopes of competing in the spring. Some won't return to action until the fall of 2021.

    Here's hoping that we can all take the health and safety precautions seriously by means of habitually washing hands and using sanitizer, being respectful of those businesses who encourage the wearing of masks and practicing social distance as much as possible.

    As we have learned the past several months, we can't take each game or match for granted. Nor can we take life for granted.

Friday's paper includes a special Fall Sports Preview sports section, including many area schedules.